Monday, May 23, 2016

DAV Saturday

It was a busy day at DAV chapter 23 Saturday. The ongoing drama with the leadership took a turn that was unexpected to me when the national but the chapter in receivership. This strikes me is not an entirely bad idea, since has been amazingly bad management of the money and outright resistance to performing the mission of assisting veterans on the much in the leadership, but the reason for the receivership was apparently something entirely different: possible misuse of funds by Commander.

Now, I can't speak authoritatively on what went down because as a member of the auxillary I was required to leave the meeting before anyone said anything about it. I had joined the group in good faith thinking that I would be a full member, but in the small print of which I was not informed I actually have no rights at all. I would not recommend anyone join the auxiliary of the DAV for this reason; you are expected to contribute money and effort, but otherwise to stay silent. However, that is a matter for another time.

I stood outside in the rain - the meeting leaders didn't have the sense to recommend we go up into the chapel - with a member from another chapter name to Wayne and a veteran in distress. Wayne did a pretty good job of interviewing the other veteran as to the cause of his distress, and it was compelling. They went through a list of resources, and it appeared that he had tried them all but for various reasons they did not apply to resolve his issue. The time taken to explore all of those other options had brought in the event to the point at which he would become homeless in 2 hours if he could not come up with $600 to pay short-term housing. Let me emphasize that he had been exploring sources of health, and reportedly he would have a check coming at the end of the month that would resolve the long-term, or at least medium-term comma issue but needed temporary assistance to get through the next two weeks. I avoided getting involved mostly because Wayne was his doing and obviously great job of exploring the issue and trying Solutions. At an ordinary meaning of chapter, it was likely that the assistance would have been approved by the membership, although opposed by in the faction that rejects helping veterans, but that was not going to happen at this meeting because of the receivership crisis.

I tried not to get involved, I really did. Helping people in this situation can be expensive and I do have other responsibilities. There is always the chance that helping someone turns out futile in the long run. But on the other hand, here we were. The veteran had been exhaustively interviewed by Wayne and had apparently tried all the reasonable options. He had a plan for dealing with a situation if he could get past this crisis. I, myself, had the credit to borrow the money to solve the problem. I did not see that I really had a choice.

Wayne had to go deal with some stuff and while he was gone I talked with the veteran in distress. We agreed that I would lend him the money. We tried to execute the transaction over the phone, but the relevant Institution I would not do that, which frankly was pretty reasonable. Therefore we drove to the Shoreline Inn on Aurora, I checked with the manager and confirmed the situation, and paid the debt on my personal credit. I got one receipt, the veteran got the other. I then returned to the chapter house where the meeting was winding down. There was no time at which the veteran in distress could make his presentation, although he stayed to the end. I suppose I could have tried to raise the matter but, as above, I don't have any rights.

I have exchanged phone numbers and text message with the veteran. I have every confidence that when he gets on his feet he will repay the loan, however this may take quite a lot of time. I consider the money gone. I feel however that it would be worthwhile to ask the chapter what it would have done had it not been preoccupied by other business, and see if it will cover the debt. I'm not sure how to go about this, but I'll talk it over with some friends.

I really don't see what else I could have done under the situation. I have a lot of responsibilities, but I was presently able to resolve the situation and not only I but also Wayne had been through the complete list of alternatives.

I hope at least to have learned from the situation something valuable, but I don't know what it is.

I should not let this account of the day go past without mentioning the fun I had with "Uncle Mike". This is a veteran who runs a restaurant not far from Proletariat Pizza, who I had met briefly while working with Veterans and Friends of Puget Sound. The interaction hadn't gone well because we lost his paperwork, but I felt badly about it for years. He was very friendly on Saturday and when I apologized for the incident, he laughed; he was obviously way way beyond that, had ordered a clean file and put in the work needed to research his claim. If he had put down that burden, I was happy to as well. When we abruptly lost the services of the lunch cook, someone asked me to step in and I said, "Uncle Mike knows food!" Mike stepped in, took over, and got it done, for which I am grateful. 

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